Big East’s never seen a game like Marshon Brooks had

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Marshon Brooks was so good Wednesday night, he outscored two Big East teams by himself.

Too bad one of them wasn’t Notre Dame.

The Providence senior dumped 52 on the Irish during a 94-93 loss, setting a conference scoring record, tying a school mark and outdoing both Georgetown and DePaul in the process. The Friars swingman missed just eight shots and was unstoppable throughout the night, but It’ll go down as a slightly bittersweet memory.

“I just wanted to come out and be aggressive. If we were going to lose, I just wanted it to be because of me. That’s how I felt, honestly,” Brooks told the Providence Journal.

“It’s not even about the 52. It’s the losing, period.”

Don’t feel too badly, Marshon. You wowed everyone, including the Notre Dame players.

“It was like, ‘Did he just hit that shot? Did he just hit that shot?'” Irish guard Ben Hansbrough said afterward. “I think we were a lot more poised, especially against one of the best performances ever.”

Brooks’ 52 points tied Lamar’s Mike James for the highest total this season, and is just the 20th time a college player has topped 50 points in the last 15 years, according to StatSheet. He got his name in the Big East record books by topping Eric Murdock’s record of 48 set against Pitt in ’91, and tied Marvin Barnes’ overall school record.

The 6-5 Brooks – the nation’s second-leading scorer behind BYU’s Jimmer Fredette – was a marvel, scoring on drives, mid-range jumpers, 3-pointers and at the line. He didn’t just jack up a ton of shots, either. Brooks hit 20 of 28 shots, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc, good for 1.59 PPWS.

That’s when the cliché applies: He was in a zone.

“I’m thrilled that we escaped with a win,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a performance like that by a young man. That was outstanding.”

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.